Deuteronomy 4, Psalms 86-87, Isaiah 32, Revelation 2

DateVersionReading Plan
@May 31, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 4:7–8 (ESV) 7 For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? 8 And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?

Moses taught the people the statutes and rules from God and told them to do them that they may live. Other nations would look upon them and admire them for being a great nation that is wise and understanding. There was no other god more near to its people as the LORD was to the Israelites and no other rules more righteous. While we no longer serve the same gods of antiquity, the gods we setup for ourselves—acquisition of possessions, personal achievement, relationships, etc.—are equally distant and fleeting. We call upon them in our own way, pinning our hopes on them to bring fulfillment, satisfaction or even salvation. But this never ends well. Only by calling on the LORD and placing our hope in Him will we be properly anchored to the God who is near and the Rock that never fails.

Psalms 86-87

Psalm 86:8–10 (ESV) 8 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. 9 All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. 10 For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.

These verses from David’s prayer echo much of the same sentiment as Deut. 4 on the exclusivity of God as being the only true God. There are no works like His, no intimacy with other gods as with Him and no rules so righteous. All the other nations He has made will come to worship Him and and glorify His name. There will be no exceptions. Let us then exult in His greatness and His wondrous deeds, proclaiming aloud that He alone is God.

Isaiah 32

Isaiah 32:5 (ESV) 5 The fool will no more be called noble, nor the scoundrel said to be honorable.

Isaiah paints a stark contrast between the truly noble and the fool or scoundrel. There will be a day when the fool will no more be called noble. This illuminates two realities of our fallen world. First, through our corrupt and sinful nature, we mistakenly ascribe foolishness as nobility. We see this in leaders who may be particularly intelligent or articulate but espouse positions that are in opposition to God’s decrees and created order. They speak with confidence and authority, but their words are rooted in nothing truthful or transcendent. Second is that this will all be rectified one day in the new heavens and new earth. It will be a glorious day for the faithful in Christ when it is fully revealed how God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise and chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.

Revelation 2

Revelation 2:3–5 (ESV) 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

The church at Ephesus had correctly tested false apostles, but they had abandoned the love they had at first, namely their love for God. If we do all the right things but do them not out of a love for God, we do them wrongly. Jesus calls for the church to repent of such ways and return to doing the works it did at first. Good works—works that are aligned with God and promote the building of His kingdom—must stem from a heart that longs to glorify Him.

Carson on Deuteronomy 4

Of the many lessons that spring from this historical recital, one relatively minor point — painful to Moses and important for us — quietly emerges. Moses repeatedly reminds the people that he himself will not be permitted to enter the land. He is referring to the time he struck the rock instead of speaking to it (Num. 20; see also the meditation for May 9). But now he points out, truthfully, that his sin and punishment took place, he says, “because of you” (Deut. 1:37; Deut. 3:23-27; Deut. 4:21-22). Of course, Moses was responsible for his own action. But he would not have been tempted had the people been godly. Their persistent unbelief and whining wore him down.

Carson adds an important detail to Moses’ accusation of the people for not being allowed into the Promised Land. Moses was accountable for his actions at the waters of Meribah, but the persistent unbelief and whining of the people did play a part in influencing his rebellious behavior. This serves as an encouragement and admonition to remain faithful to God and His Word in the face of the prevailing winds of our culture.